workplace issues


I am wondering how others have managed the issue of limiting exposure in the workplace. I am peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergic and am inhalation and contact sensitive. I have become more sensitive since the time I started in my workplace years ago. People bring in lots of food which is consumed in our front office area and break room. There is a lot of chinese food around. Today I walked into a room where a client was eating a nutty granola bar. She started to give me a hug and I backed off and explained. I want to feel healthy but am also concerned about being overly restrictive to others. I believe we probably have a policy which is not well enforced which limits food consumption to the break room area. Any ideas?

On Mar 4, 2003

Maybe present the problem to the people you share the eating area with and ask for their suggestions. That way they'll be more invested in following the rules. Peg

On Mar 4, 2003

The food in the break room could probably be managed by closing the door. I am attending (not going in the room never mind eating) fewer and fewer potlucks. It is a large office. The concerns I have are about inhalation/contact reactions to our front desk clerk eating peanuts (handling paperwork which may eventually come to me), other staff snacking on nuts/chocolates with nuts/etc, people bringing us eggrolls, going into others offices unknowlingly where they have open bowls of nuts in their office. I am really the only one affected by any food sensitivity. Anything I bring up will create more restrictions for others. We also have alot of people who work here just a few shifts a week. And I'm not here one day a week and a couple of afternoons. That said, I will probably need to bring it up anyways. So far my reactions in these situations have been manageable with leaving the area and/or antihistamines.

On May 21, 2003

re-raising for Shelleo

On May 21, 2003

Thanks Codyman for listening to me vent earlier this evening. I am still reeling from the lashing I received in our 'teachers' staff room at recess today. I honestly believed that our staff was making every effort to reduce the chances of exposing both myself and my grade 5 student to a life threatening situation with peanuts and fish. How do I educate these people? I personally have experienced two anaphylactic reactions this school year. The most recent to what I suspect was the cleaning bucket/supplies for the fish aquarium. It had been stored in the staff room and my guess is that over the duration of the year, the smell of fish has increased to a level that I reacted to. I needed my epi-pen and 200mg of benadryl before the reaction began to subside. Today a staff member challenged my allergy by saying, "you can't be that allergic to fish, you swim in lakes don't you?" "What about grocery shopping and restaurants, how do you do that?" How do I look these people in the face tomorrow? I am shocked and furious with their reaction. Thanks for taking the time to read my letter.


On May 28, 2003

I know exactly how you feel. I worked at a school earlier this year and the students would earn snacks for behaving appropriately. ONe of the snacks was peanuts. I attempted several times to tell the staff that the kids and staff could NOT eat peanuts in my room. Finally just before I quit, I got them to look at it as the ADA.

Now, I work with adults who have mental retardation and many of them bring pb and j for lunch. I am contact and inhalation sensitive, but not as bad as ingestion sensitive, but I stay FAR, FAR away from the clients who are eating them. It's usually not more than 2 in the same room. If it bothers me, I just leave the room for a few minutes.

There is really nothing I feel I can do except move if I have to. It's impossible to get most people to understand how serious this allergy is, including my sister. My bf seems to get it though as he refuses to eat ANYTHING with pb in it while I am around and he says that when we get married, our kids will never know what peanut butter is!